LUNA, Apayao – Gov. Elias C. Bulut, Jr. branded the government’s Special Area for Agriculture Development (SAAD) being implemented as part of poverty alleviation interventions for the people of Apayao is a failure on the initial stages of its implementation because of the alleged wrong priorities in the implementation of the projects that will be beneficial to the poorest of the poor.
Speaking before the joint meeting of the Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Regional Development Council (RDC) here Thursday, the governor pointed out local officials welcome the downloading of funds for the pre-selected anti-poverty projects that will be implemented in the province but the projects should conform with the prevailing situation on the ground to help them improve their living condition at the end of the program.
Under the SAAD, the government, through the agriculture department, will be downloading to the provincial government some P50 million annually purposely for palay seeds and fertilizer distribution to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (PPPP) and the distribution of units of farm equipment to them among others.
However, Bulut pointed out 4Ps beneficiaries are not landed residents, thus, it is improper to give them free palay seeds and fertilizers as well as equipment because they do not actually till a land for their daily sustenance but instead, they work on the farms of better off residents.
“WE want the implementation of development projects in the province that will contribute in uplifting the living condition of our constituents but we want the projects to be realistic and concrete and not just stop gap measures which will not actually be effective in achieving its purpose in the future,” Bulut stressed.
According to him, the best thing that should be done is to empower existing rice and corn farmers to form cooperatives wherein the funds will be coursed through so that the trick down effect of the programs could be realized.
Bulut explained of the P50 million that was downloaded to the provincial government last year during the first year of the 4-year SAAD program, only P20 million was able to be used while of the P50 million that was again released to the province this year, the fund was not yet touched because he wants the effects of the program to be realistic to the beneficiaries.
He asserted he does not object to the implementation of the program but the details of the projects to be implemented should be pursuant to the purpose of empowering people to be resilient, self-reliant and better off in the future.
The local chief executive argued officials welcome the grant of financial assistance by concerned government agencies because people really need sustainable development projects to help improve their living condition but the release of funds should be coupled with realistic, doable, practical and time-bound interventions which will have long-term trickledown effect in uplifting the living condition of the poor who will be the primordial beneficiaries of such projects.